making bad coffee
I used to drink coffee for the sake of drinking coffee. In recent years I mostly switched to drinking coffee for the sake of going out and having something to do. Since I no longer go outside and there’s nowhere to go anyway, I have stopped drinking coffee, but since I’ve been spending so much time inside peering into my pantry, I found a bag of coffee from the before times and thought I’d have some fun.
The coffee I found predates not only the current pandemic, but also the current president, so I’m not expecting much, but the point isn’t to make coffee, but to have something to do. And coffee, at least in a sealed bag, never spoils, it just becomes less good. Allegedly. It was still nicely aromatic when I opened it four years, ten months, and six days after the expiration date stamped on the bag.
I have a Keurig machine too, but as far as diversions from daily monotony go, it doesn’t offer much.
I started with this giant slow drip apparatus.
It certainly offers lots to do. You have to clean all the parts, then carefully assemble it, and try not to let any of the glass parts roll around and drop on the floor. Filling the central section with coffee is kinda involved, since it requires very even packing for best, or even decent results.
If you’ve never tried one of these, and I imagine most people haven’t, it’s fun, but also requires a lot of care and finesse. First off, you’re not getting your coffee now, it’s coming in about six hours, though it’ll keep making coffee for a few more hours as long as you refill the top water container. It can make good coffee, but only if you pack the central section just right and adjust the drip rate to match. If the water drips too fast, it will just run through and you’ll get very weak coffee. If the coffee isn’t packed right, the water will all run down the same channel and you’ll get very weak coffee. If the drip rate is set just right, it will eventually stop when there’s no longer sufficient weight pushing it down and you’ll get very little coffee.
On the bright side, it fills the house with nice coffee aromas while it’s working. Ideally one would set it up at night, go to bed, and awake to find a pot full of coffee. Unfortunately, it tends to stop dripping and requires constant monitoring. This is great if you’re in the house all day, but less great under more normal circumstances. So you can run it all day, then bottle up the coffee for tomorrow.
It requires a bit of practice, and can churn through a lot of coffee grounds without producing much coffee juice, but it’s definitely a diversion. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend running out and buying one however, unless you like challenges.
Then I decided to try the real cheater method. Toss a few spoonfuls of coffee into a tall glass, fill with water, leave to set for a few hours. Strain once through a basic metal strainer to remove most of the solids, then pour it once more through a paper towel. This is much less exciting, but it works pretty reliably. Coffee filters would be better because they absorb less liquid, but I don’t have any, and don’t really care. Add sufficient milk and sugar, and I even kinda like it.